Legal Perspectives on Bottom-up Approaches
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Marjan Peeters and Thomas Schomerus
Chapter 9: Subnational resistance against renewable energy: The case of Italy
Italy has great potential in terms of renewable energy production. Although it has achieved some good results in concrete terms, the wide availability of some resources (such as biomass, solar and wind power in southern Italy) has not yet been fully exploited. The main problem is not the level of economic incentives (which has been very high, especially in the past), but rather the absence – for a long while – of a national energy policy and the uncertain distribution of competences between State and Regions in the Italian Constitution in the field of energy and environment. This has led to a chaotic and fragmented regulatory framework, often a source of conflict between the central government and the Regions. The local governments (especially the municipalities) and political parties also have a large responsibility for the persistence of the NIMBY phenomenon. Indeed, it is not uncommon that the local authorities and the politicians organise popular protest to gain consensus. This chapter provides a short overview of the reasons for subnational resistance against renewable energy and seeks to identify possible solutions to these problems in order to achieve the objectives and targets set by the European Union. The Italian National Renewable Energy Action Plan opens with a quite controversial statement: “The development of renewable energy sources has been one of the priorities of Italy’s energy policy for some time, together with the promotion of energy efficiency”. Indeed, the real place of renewables in the national energy policy is not clear at all.
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